25 Ideas to Freshen Up That Query
by Maya Prasad
So you've shopped around your query, and it's about as popular as Sunday night homework. Maybe it's time to try a new angle—or twenty-five!
Here are 25 ideas to help you kickstart your query with a fresh angle. These aren't necessarily meant to be sent out, but are merely exercises to view your novel differently. Share your different versions with your friends, and you might get a good idea of what really appeals to people. I hope they'll help you understand what is truly unique and compelling about your book.
1. Write it in 1st person
2. Write it from a minor character's POV
3. Write it from the POV of your MC's nosy neighbor
4. Write it from the POV of your MC's pet
5. Write from your MC's POV after her death
6. Have your CP tell you her favorite chapter of the book, and focus on that
7. Begin with your MC's taste in the opposite sex
8. Begin with a joke that would make your MC snort her coffee
9. Begin with the politics that will trap your MC
10. Begin with the setting and why your MC is stuck there
11. If sci-fi or fantasy, begin with the main technology or magic that is different from anything we've read
12. If SFF, begin with a restriction of technology or magic that's a pain in your MC's behind
13. Write the last line of the query first—full of conflict and suspense. Then work your way backward.
14. Begin with your MC's deepest, darkest fear or secret
15. Begin with what your MC can't afford to lose, but she will anyway
16. Reveal your biggest plot twist, and work your way backward
17. Include 3 clues that foreshadow your climax
18. Include 3 details about your society or cast of characters that are different from our normal perspective
19. Use the same first and last line
20. Begin with your MC's greatest skill, and why it won't help her
21. Begin with your favorite line from your manuscript
22. Begin with the first line from your manuscript
23. Write your query in verse
24. Write the version where your MC totally does not overcome the obstacle, and explain why she fails so miserably
25. Write the query as if it were a different genre (e.g. write your romance query as a horror)
26. BONUS: Enter my query critique giveaway. Maybe I can help give you a new perspective!
Maya Prasad writes YA science-fiction, and is represented by Katelyn Detweiler at Jill Grinberg Literary. Catch her on her blog mayaprasad.com or on twitter @mayaprasadwrite. She loves discussing writing, publishing, and YA books.
The giveaway ends on May 20th, so be sure to get in those entries fast!
Please join me in saying a big THANK YOU to Maya for her excellent guest post! And if you have any questions about queries, please leave a comment.